Am I Eligible for a FELA Claim and What Compensation Can I Recover?

March 29, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Am I Eligible for a FELA Claim and What Compensation Can I Recover?

As a part of their everyday duties, railroad workers navigate a number of risky situations, from handling toxic chemicals to operating heavy machinery. If their employers fail to protect them properly, they can sustain severe injuries or develop serious illnesses. The government has established a process for railroad workers who have been injured on the job to recover compensation for their damages through the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA).

Unlike a worker’s compensation claim, FELA claims require proof of negligence to establish liability. The most effective way to ensure that you are able to recover the compensation you need is to hire a personal injury attorney who is familiar with the process of negotiating a FELA claim. The railroad worker injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group are prepared to help you maximize your compensation by

Necessary Qualifications to File a FELA Claim

The option available to railroad workers who want to be reimbursed for their damages is to file a railroad worker injury lawsuit, which is also known as a FELA claim. The Federal Employer Liability Act is tailored to allow injured railroad workers and the families of deceased railroad workers a way to seek financial relief when the company they work for fails to protect them. In order to be eligible to file a FELA claim, the following conditions must be met:

  • You are a railroad employee
  • You were injured or became ill as a result of your job
  • Your employer was completely or partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries by breaching their duty of care
  • Your injuries have caused you some form of damages  
  • The injury occurred less than three years ago, or the effects of your illness were made apparent less than three years ago

Understanding Comparative Negligence in a FELA Claim

FELA claims do require some proof that the employer was at fault, unlike a traditional workers’ compensation claim. That being said, railroad employees who are injured as a result of their own actions or those of a third party in addition to their company’s actions can still recover compensation. This is known as comparative negligence. 

Essentially, in a FELA claim, the plaintiff and the defendant can share liability, and the plaintiff’s settlement will be reduced by the percentage of negligence they contributed. For example, let’s say that a railroad employee was injured as a result of the company’s failure to safely store a toxic chemical, but the employee skipped a safety protocol when transporting it. It is determined that the employee is 35% at fault for the accident, so comparative negligence would dictate that they only receive 65% of the total value of their settlement.

Railroad Workers Can Sustain Serious Injuries On the Job

The nature of railroad work is inherently dangerous. Congress recognized this fact over 100 years ago when they created the Federal Employer Liability Act to address the alarming number of deaths and injuries related to railroad work. Railroad employees can come into contact with hazardous chemicals, be crushed in between hard surfaces, run over by heavy machinery, struck with materials, or otherwise harmed while operating and servicing trains. In some cases, railroad work injuries are the result of a single incident, and others are sustained over a period of time after repeated exposure or movement. Common railroad worker injuries include:

Types of Damages in a Railroad Worker Injury Claim

After sustaining a serious injury on the job, a railroad worker may be forced to miss multiple paychecks, forgo normal activities like driving and cooking, and incur hefty medical bills. Damages like these can be compensated in a FELA claim, as FELA claims allow the injured party to recover both economic and non-economic damages.

Railroad workers can secure compensation for their financial losses in the form of economic damages, provided that they can offer documentation like a receipt to show the monetary value of their loss. Additionally, railroad workers can seek compensation for non-economic damages related to their emotional losses in a FELA claim. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are calculated subjectively.

Examples of Damages in a FELA Claim

Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?

The railroad worker injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group are highly-qualified, results-driven advocates who will go above and beyond to maximize your compensation. Other personal injury law firms turn to Dolman Law Group to take on their most complex cases, which validates our expertise and speaks to the resources we can offer you.

For over a decade, clients have trusted us to represent their best interests. You can rest assured that your claim, no matter the size, will receive the personalized attention it deserves. If you try to negotiate for yourself, you will likely walk away with a smaller settlement than our team would be able to secure. 

Our team has consistently settled claims involving negligent employers, and we are prepared to do the same for you. You can depend on our team to manage critical deadlines, investigate your claim, analyze evidence, and present a compelling argument for the maximum compensation available.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your FELA Lawsuit

Railroad workers often perform physically demanding jobs with dangerous materials and equipment that leave them vulnerable to serious illness or injury. As personal injury lawyers, we understand how one incident can completely derail your physical health, finances, and emotional well-being for months if not years. 

The railroad worker injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group will unapologetically advocate for you to recover compensation for damages like medical bills, pain and suffering, and reduced earning capacity. Our team is prepared to champion your FELA claim in court if that is necessary to secure a settlement that accurately reflects your damages. 

If you have been injured on the job as a railroad worker, you may have questions about whether or not your case qualifies for compensation through a FELA claim. The personal injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group can offer you the legal insight you need in a free consultation. Our team will focus on creating a compelling argument for maximum compensation while you focus on healing.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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